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date: 11 August 2022

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand 1754–1838
French statesman 

  1. This is the beginning of the end.
    on the announcement of Napoleon I's Pyrrhic victory at Borodino, 1812
    attributed; Sainte-Beuve M. de Talleyrand (1870) ch. 3
  2. Surtout, Messieurs, point de zèle.
    Above all, gentlemen, not the slightest zeal.
    P. Chasles Voyages d'un critique à travers la vie et les livres (1868) vol. 2; earlier versions include ‘Surtout pas trop de zèle [Above all not too much zeal]’ and ‘N'ayez pas de zèle [Do not be zealous]’
  3. Ils n'ont rien appris, ni rien oublié.
    They have learnt nothing, and forgotten nothing.
    of the Bourbons in exile
    oral tradition, attributed to Talleyrand by the Chevalier de Panat; see Dumouriez
  4. That, Sire, is a question of dates.
    replying to the Tsar's criticism of those who ‘betrayed the cause of Europe’; often quoted as, ‘treason is a matter of dates’
    Duff Cooper Talleyrand (1932)
  5. What a sad old age you are preparing for yourself.
    to a young diplomat who boasted of his ignorance of whist
    J. Amédée Pichot Souvenirs Intimes sur M. de Talleyrand (1870)